10th Annual Erk Russell Classic Football Event Presented by The Heritage Group
The August 21st event kicks off the 2021 high school football season with the Macon County
Bulldogs taking on the Panthers from Clinch County at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Wayne
County Yellow Jackets and the Blue Devils from Statesboro High butting heads at 9:00 p.m.
Both contests will take place at Georgia Southern’s legendary Allen E. Paulson Stadium.
From Montezuma, Georgia, the Bulldogs from Macon County High school compete in
Region 5-A and are coached by Dexter Copeland. Serving as the school’s Athletic Director,
Copeland is a native of Warner Robins (Northside HS) and is a graduate of Georgia
Southern University. He has coached for over 15 years with stints at Twiggs County,
Baldwin County, Hawkinsville and Monticello.
Representing Region 2-A, Clinch County High School is in Homerville, Georgia. A former
Panther football standout himself, Don Tison returned to his alma mater as the head coach
in 2019. He is the son of former head football coach Donald Tison. The Panthers’ football
stadium is named after the late Donald Tison, who was Clinch County’s head football coach
from 1974-1994. The younger Tison was the Offensive Coordinator for Clinch County
overseeing the most prolific offense in Panther history in 2010 and served in the same role
for four of the school’s eight state title teams (2010, 2015, 2017, 2018).
From Jesup, Georgia, the Region 1-5A Yellow Jackets of Wayne County High School are
coached by Ken Cribb. Entering his 5th season at the helm, Cribb previously turned the
Bluffton High School (SC) Bobcats into a Palmetto State power going 63-26 in seven
seasons including numerous semi-finals appearances and a state runner up in 2011.
The Yellow Jackets from Wayne County are stepping up to Class 6-A to take on Statesboro
High School in the night cap. The Blue Devils are coached Jeff Kaiser, who took over the
reigns from Steve Pennington in 2018. Previously at Tattnall County High School, Kaiser
was a football and baseball star at Statesboro High and played defensive line for the
University of Georgia Bulldogs .